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Waco man regrets involvement in murder case

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Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-23 19:46:25-05

Ten years ago, investigators say a Robinson woman killed her husband in cold blood.

Detectives looking into the case found a twisted web of lies and deceit that led in many different directions.

One Waco man says, it destroyed his life.

"It's definitely one I'll never forget. Because of just the circumstances around it," said Sergeant Gary Young of the Robinson Police Department.

He led the investigation into one of Central Texas’ most sensational murder cases.

Young found former race car driver Joe Sturdivant, dead of a gunshot wound… lying in his own bed.

Young perused several leads in the case, but many led right back to his wife, Joyce.

"(The) Initial interview the night of the homicide, she asked for an attorney,” said Young.

An immediate red flag. He says she also seemed more concerned about a missing pendant than her dead husband.

One of the leads in the case led to two sets of so-called “hit men” Joyce apparently hired, including Chris Chatman, who investigators say, walked into the Sturdivant home one night, a year before the murder.

"Several weeks into the investigation we learned that he was involved in the home invasion, and was actually the person that went into the home and assaulted Joe and got into the fight with Joe,” Young said.

Chatman said a friend had asked him to help retrieve a purse for a battered woman.

He got away, and eventually testified against Joyce Sturdivant, but paid a price for his honesty.

"The only thing that got me upset that kinda bothers me in my life is that, here we are 10 years later and I'm looking like a murderer,” said Chatman.

He’s had to live with the stigma of his involvement for a decade.

“It's hard for me to get work, I suffer from anxiety attacks, nightmares at night about the situation,” said Chatman.

In the end, police say they found no evidence to support Joyce Sturdivant’s claim her husband beat her, and believe she wanted her husband’s assets to fund her substantial drug habit.

"That's what we believe,” said Young.

A jury eventually convicted Joyce Sturdivant, in a case that remains one of the most chilling in recent Central Texas memory.

"The fact that she still killed her husband in cold blood is... that's a fact... that's right, it's a fact,” said Young.

A fact that sent Joyce Sturdivant to prison for 30 years.

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